“The Victoria Sphere”

Update January, 2012: Fixed some spelling and usage issues. Adjusted structure and added support text. Information “stolen from American military and Service Archives” has been block quoted. I think I’m going to turn this into a screenplay for a short film that I’ll never be able to afford to produce, what with the nature of the story šŸ™‚

Originally serialized on Consumating.com. Special thanks to Jack Daniels and “Val. Short for Valkyrie.”

This story was initially in six parts. It is collected here by somewhat popular demand. Each part ends with the original “To be continued” demarcation.

Without further adieu, I give you, “The Victoria Sphere.”

——————————————–

Part One

Our story begins at Grey’s Papaya, primarily because I’ve always wanted to start a story there. And because I’m starving and really could go for a hot dog right about now. But I digress.

Cool steam billowed out of the storm drain as Lil finished her cigarette. “Damn smoking ban,” she mumbled to herself before tossing the cancer stick in the sewer and proceeding to the landmark shop.

Hopping in line, she whipped out her phone for a quick game of Alchemy while she waited for her hot dogs. Lil was a thin girl, but she loved eating junk food. Mostly to spite her thicker friends. Something about downing an entire box of Hostess Cupcakes and not gaining a pound really got her off.

As did dozens of men in the greater NYC area. Some driving down from as far as Dutchess county in an attempt to satisfy her. This story isn’t about that though. Mostly because I’m at work. But we need to establish that Lil is pretty, well liked, and sexually insatiable.

She also loved to complain. “Damn thing needs a touch screen,” she moaned, sliding around blocks on her cell phone. Complaining could easily be called Lil’s pastime. Her roommates were ready to kill her, her family had practically disowned her, and the men only kept showing up because the sex was good.

Lil smirked at the thick woman in front of her ordering a smoothie. In her bubble of perfection, she didn’t notice the man with a gun standing behind her.

Nor did she feel anything when clocked over the head with said gun.

Hours later, Lil awoke in what appeared to be a wine cellar. She recalled her love for Merlot and fixated on that rather than the fact that she was hogtied and gagged. Oh well, it really wasn’t much different than a Saturday night for her.

The door slid open. The thoughts of Merlot disappeared and her mind filled with dread. She had two working kidneys and did not want to lose them. “Leave my kidneys alone!” she shouted at the darkness.

A strange voice from across the room laughed at her muffled yell. “I assume you think I want your organs to sell on some online auction site? I have no interest in that, miss. And you watch too much bad TV.”

Lil was suddenly puzzled. He couldn’t want to rape her, as she’d easily put out for a guy with such a great wine cellar. She didn’t have much money since her parents cut her off. And nothing she owned was worth more than a mugging.

The dark figure saw her confusion. “Miss Lil, you think I kidnapped you for a reason? Well, possibly. But rest your feeble mind dear. There’s plenty of time for that later.”

He slid a large knife off a table. “Right now, we’re going to have some fun.”

To be continued.

 

Part Two

Lil watched the knife slide off the table and approach her. She was probably lucky that she didn’t get those hot dogs as her Vickie’s Secret panties would be ruined by now. This was her last thought as the knife gained altitude and Lil slipped out of consciousness.

She came to in one piece, alive, unscathed and in the clothes she was wearing. She was no longer restrained and no longer in the wine cellar. Outside the window, she should see the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. What the hell was she doing in the Hudson Valley? And why wasn’t she dead?

“Ah, you’re awake. You know, you didn’t have to pass out. I just wanted to play Jenga.” That bizarre statement was followed by laughter from the other side of the room. It emanated from a tall man in his fifties with greying hair and a James Bond-esque candor.

“Uh, what?” was all Lil could muster. She was used to dominating. Being in charge. It was rare that she didn’t know what was going on, let alone not being the mastermind behind it.

The old man grinned. “Look, I’m sorry it has to be this way. I’ll try to address the questions you likely have bouncing around in your urban under dweller mind of yours.”

Lil winced at “urban under dweller.” “Frigging suburbanites,” she thought.

“I pulled the knife on you to see how you’d react. You fainted, which doesn’t bode well for what I’m going to ask you later. I didn’t tie you up, the man I had kidnap you did. I didn’t request it, but he said he knew you and that restraints didn’t bother you.” He paused at this. “Whatever that means.”

“I had you kidnapped because I need you to do something for me. You can walk out of here saying no, but the fate of an entire nation depends on it.”

Another pause, this time with a look of remembrance. “My name is Bill, I do freelance work for the Canadian government. Lovely to meet you. Sorry it had to be under these odd circumstances .”

Bill extended his hand and Lil took it out of habit. Another man entered the room. He looked in his mid-twenties, with a big frame. His tee shirt proclaimed “Bow before me, for I am root.” Lil hopped up at the sight of him.

“Hey, Lil, how’s-” She cut him off with a slap. A good, hard slap like in the movies, right across the face. A loud crack followed the blow, causing Bill to wince slightly.

“You son of a bitch! ” she swore, seething in his face. “Not only do you agree to kidnap me, you tie me up too? Why the hell did I have sex with you?”

“Because I fixed your computer, you thought I was cute, I wouldn’t take money and you didn’t have any food. Well, that explains the first time. Dunno about the rest.” The new person said all this with a big shit-eating grin on this face.

“You!” Lil could only huff and puff, resisting the urge to wrap her fingers around the thick neck of her newly-revealed former partner.

So I lied a bit before. This story is party about one of the men Lil has slept with. But it’s mostly about Lil. Stay with me, here.

Bill sighed. “Lil, of course you know Tom. I met him at a supermarket across the river. He seemed eager to help out Canada, even more so after I offered him citizenship. I offer you the same, only if you’ll help me. You’ll have my resources and Tom at your disposal. If you agree, you’ll also be payed very well. If you succeed, expect more money, along with Canadian citizenship and residency for life.”

“Just tell me what the hell you want.” Lil was done being uniformed. She didn’t like beating around the bush, and she was finally coming to her senses. “I may as well indulge you if you went to the trouble of sending my ex-boyfriend to find me and drag me to Where-ever-the-hell-this-is.”

“You’re in Newburgh, and what do you mean, ex-boyfriend?” piped in an upset Tom. “We just just started hooking up last weekend. Are you dumping me over this? Were we even dating?”

Daggers in her eyes, she fired back “I’m beginning to question that myself, tubby.”

“Stop it you two,” interjected Bill, “and listen to me. I need you to get back an important Canadian artifact stolen by the United States three years ago. We’ve attempted diplomacy, but the White House won’t budge. You must enter the Oval Office and get the Sphere of Victoria from the hidden panel of Kennedy’s desk before the President uses it to destroy the world.”

Lil, puzzled: “Destroy the world?”

Tom, puzzled, but on a different page: “Sphere of Victoria?”

Bill, deadly serious: “Yes. The most powerful weapon in the world. Capable of wiping out a whole nation in one fell swoop. And that is why it must be retrieved.”

“But why me, or if I have to drag him along, us?” Tom was still too agog to respond to Lil’s snipe.

“Because you two are the only people immune to it’s powers.” Bill replied. “Here is why:”

Bill went to his bookshelf and produced an old book adorned with a maple leaf. He began to read aloud from it as his phone rang. He answered.

“Yes? Oh, shit.” He looked at his two new assistants. “Run! Now!”

To be continued.

 

Part Three

Lil and Tom tore ass out of the Hudson River mansion. They hopped into Tom’s little Neon and flew down 9W. As they left, multiple helicopters swarmed on the large home of their new Canadian benefactor.

As they merged onto I-84, they heard the explosions start. Someone was firebombing Bill’s house with extreme prejudice.

Neither said a word until they were across the river. Lil finally piped up: “What the hell just happened? Someone was trying to kill that guy, er, Bill. And did he just ask us to steal some Canuck crap from the Oval Office.”

“Yeah. The Victoria Sphere.” Tom was much calmer than Lil, but he was also very scared. He considered Bill a mentor, a father figure, and the possibility of losing him wasn’t something he wanted to consider. “Gives the President the ability to wipe out an entire nation of people with a handheld weapon. Supposedly acts like an H-bomb: kills all the people, keeps their stuff intact.”

Lil was very frazzled, almost a diametric opposite of Tom. It’s a wonder these two were able to coexist long enough to shake hands, let alone do anything else.. “Wait, he never mentioned that part. How do you know that?”

“The Internet is for more than luring men to your residence hall for cheap sex, miss. I read about the Victoria Sphere on Damn Interesting. Maybe you’ll read someday.” The anger was starting to set in. Tom usually wasn’t this short tempered, but Lil brought out the worst in him.

The military raid and the questionable status of Bill wasn’t helping either.

She didn’t respond right away, opting rather to squirm in the passenger seat.

Further down the road, Lil regained the courage to speak. “I think I want to find it. Even if Bill, well, even if he can’t come through with what he promised, I still want to find that Sphere.”

This drew a strange look from her former conquest. “You do realize that this was the last thing I expected you’d say, I dunno, ever?” As torn up as he was, Tom was still a snarky geek. And picking on Lil was making him feel better, if not a better person.

“I know. Just keep driving. Wait, where are we going anyway?”

“The marina. We’re going to steal a boat. Did mommy and daddy teach you how to sail?”

“No, but a cute guy in Saint Thomas did. I think his name was Marco. Or Paulo. I just remember that he liked it rough.”

Like most people who had spent any time with Lil, Tom was getting good at ignoring those choice bits. “Fine. I’ll handle the theft, you handle the sailing. We’re headed back to Manhattan to do some more research on the Sphere and the White House. This is going to be difficult. We have no supplies, no funding and you have no training. Bill taught me a few tricks, and he was planning on doing the same for you.” He choked back a tear.

Lil stared blankly out the window. “I hope I can hold my own.” A pause. “Did Bill tell you why were were immune to the Sphere?”

“No. I had no idea he was even after it. And I’m not in the least bit curious right now. I just want to get it and bring it back to him. I trust him, and I hope you will too. Even though we kidnapped you and I tied you up out of spite.”

Lil started to get upset: “Spite!” then quickly collected herself. “I think I can do that.”

While already stern, Tom’s demeanor grew more serious. “Do you trust me?” He turned to look at her. She appeared shocked by his look, then puzzled by his question. Eventually, she sighed and nodded yes. “Good. I trust that you will see this through to the end.”

They turned on to Chelsea Drive and drove to the marina in silence. As they pulled in, Lil smiled slightly and said “You haven’t insulted me in at least fifteen minutes, sir.”

“I’ve been kicking myself for it for at least ten, miss. That schooner over there. Nobody’s around. Let’s go.”

The sleepy marina enabled them to make off with the boat without hindrance. Whatever Marco (or Paulo) taught Lil was paying off in droves as they sailed down the Hudson.

They didn’t notice the chopper veering west in the distance.

The pilot was radioing back to some base somewhere. “They’re heading south on the Hudson River. I suspect they’re bound for Manhattan. Install details at every major airport and bus station. They won’t get off that island.”

To be continued.

Part Four

As the chopper veered off, Lil and Tom made their way down the river like a modern day Huck and Jim. Well, with a schooner instead of a raft. And neither was a tall black person.

Feel free to forget I used that simile.

They had a good tail wind and made it to the island in a few hours, cutting around to Battery Park to ease their landing. Ditching their purloined craft, they hoofed it to the subway and headed uptown.

Lil lead Tom to a large bookstore. “The hell are we doing here? We need to do research, not shop for earmarked copies of “The Feminine Mystique.”

He was quickly distracted by a Sabrett vendor behind him and quickly requested a hot dog with onions and a YooHoo. He was likely the only person alive where this was his “usual” at a hot dog vendor. Lil looked mildly disgusted.

“This place will have the books we need. I don’t trust the damn library. Hurry up and eat that, will you?”

“Heh, reminds me of our first date,” Tom responded with a wink. He shoved the dog in his mouth and washed it down with chocolate water before being pulled violently in The Strand.

For the next few hours they pored over old books on Canada, trying to find any scrap of knowledge on the Victoria Sphere. As Tom stepped out for another hot dog, Lil located among the stacks of dusty tomes the very same book that Bill held before their (his?) untimely exit. Surprised, she started hunting for the text he was about to read them.

“The Victoria Sphere was crafted in 1978 by Canada’s top nuclear scientists to commemorate Victoria Day of that year, also the day they completed their research. The device was a proof of concept: a handheld hydrogen bomb, capable of massive human and animal casualty with no damage to non-organic structures. Hailed as Canada’s greatest achievement at the time, the device was then hidden in the CN Tower to protect the world from it’s massive power. Prime Minister Trudeau made deals with all the other major world leaders agreeing that nobody would ever use the Sphere.”

“Hey, where’d you find that?” mumbled Tom, rejoining Lil with a mouth full of processed beef, bread and onions. “Did you find the bit about why we were immune to it?”

“Thought you weren’t interested,” Lil retorted, scanning the page for that data.

“My curiosity returned after my third YooHoo. Wait, what’s this?” He sat down to read next to her.

“The Sphere is about the size of a ten pin bowling ball. It is encased in lead to prevent it from becoming volatile within the Tower. It’s overall power is the equivalent of twenty American hydrogen bombs: twenty-five megatons.. Its blast radius is approximately four thousand kilometers from point of detonation. Only humans whose blood con-”

The next page was missing. “So much for my curiosity,” sighed Tom. Lil’s cell phone rang.

“Hello. Hey sweetie.” She motioned to Tom. “Go buy that. It might have more that we need. I’ll meet you outside.”

Lil sauntered off to the side walk to have what she expected to be a pleasant conversation. The hot dog vendor noticed her smile turn to dread as Tom exited the Strand, book in hand. She put away the phone.

“We’ve got to move. That was Val.”

Tom raised an eyebrow, partially at Lil’s frightened look, and partially at the mention of Val. “Your cute roommate? What did she want?”

“People are asking about us around campus and at the airports. Val just got accosted by guys in dark suits with earpieces. How the hell are we going to get to DC?”

The eyebrow dropped, and fingers were raised to the head. Then: “We’re going to White Plains. I’ll make a call. Which way to the 125th Street Metro-North platform? They won’t be looking for two white kids there.”

Tom whipped out his phone as they walked. “Yeah, Doug, how you been? Thanks again for the Yankee tickets. Great seats as usual. Listen, I need a huge favor. Meet me at your plane. I really need to get to DC. I’ll tell you all about it later. Great. See you there.”

Tom grabbed another hot dog and bought some for Lil as they headed into Harlem.

Meanwhile, at NORAD, a sinister figure asked about a cell phone trace. “Were you able to locate them?”

“Trace puts them at Broadway and Twelfth.”

“Start there. We’ll try to pin them down in Manhattan. They’re not getting to DC on my watch.”

To be continued.

Part Five

As the two hiked uptown, Lil began to notice strange looks from some other pedestrians. Then, she started seeing men in suits with bulges under their arms. At first she wanted to mock them for not wearing their shoulder holsters better. Then it hit her: they were likely after her and Tom.

She mentioned this to him, who was busy taking inventory of their few assets. Interrupting his latest McGuyver theory (something about hitting Secret Service agents with her bag and then spraying them in the eyes with her scents when they’re stunned), she pointed out a few of them that she thought was stalking them.

“We’ll be fine. We’re a few blocks from Harlem. We make it there, we’re safe.”

Lil was a aghast. “Safe! Safe! Is this some new meaning of safe that I was unaware of?” She tended to quote Douglas Adams when she was upset. Like many poorly informed, mildly racist, petite white women, she was deathly afraid of being in Harlem. If Tom wasn’t with her, she wouldn’t be there. As little as she liked to admit it, she felt safe with him around, geeky as he was.

Tom grinned. “You know I got street cred. Just trust me.”

As she pondered just what the hell he meant by “street cred,” he sent a text message. They picked up their pace as the street numbers grew.

More agents showed up as they got into the hundreds. Their pace quickened, and they were soon being followed by a handful of suited, armed men. A few responded to seemingly invisible earpieces embedded in their cochleae and crossed the street. With people around, there was little they could do.

With the 125th street platform in sight, Tom and Lil made a beeline for the stairs. The agents started to move. One drew his gun. He pointed it straight up, and started to fire.

One gunshot. An agent fell. The others drew their pistols, looking around for the source of the shot. Out of the shadows emerged fifteen large men of various races, all carrying guns. There were only nine agents left.

“Thanks, guys. I owe you one!” Tom quickly waved from the stairs. The Defenders of Harlem, a local vigilante group, had the agents surrounded. Not a single one was calling for backup.

Lil kept looking over her shoulder as Tom purchased two one way tickets to White Plains. “See, street cred,” he quipped with a wink.

Soon they were aboard the next train and the agents had scrambled. In a half hour, they were met by Tom’s old friend Doug at the train station.Ā Doug was very hesitant about the entire situation, but he agreed to it.

Their takeoff from the nearby airport was strangely undisturbed. Lil was working up the courage to storm the Oval Office. Tom was working on the plans. He would parachute onto the front lawn of the White House, creating a big enough distraction for Lil to drop on the rear lawn and rush in. She used to run track. Got a scholar athlete award Junior year.

As the small plane flew over Delaware, Doug noticed something odd in his radar. “Guys, there’s a small single engine coming up on me. Can you see it out your windows?”

They both trotted over to opposite windows. Lil located the bogey first. “Oh shit! Come here, Tom! What is that thing?”

“That is an F-14 Tomcat. Guess we’re not good enough for the new planes.”

Lil couldn’t understand how he was able to joke while a fighter jet was tailing them. Her biggest fears before today were STIs and her upcoming Physics mid-term. The dread accumulated over the last few hours had reached new highs for her.

Tom trotted up to to the front of the commuter plane. “Doug, can you do anything evasive in this thing?

Doug laughed. “Not legally, but what the hell? If there’s a bogey on my seven, the FAA is the least of my worries. Strap in kids.”

The passengers retreated to their seats and buckled in. Their pilot ramped up the engines.

From the cockpit of the F-14, one of the Air Force’s best dogfighters grinned behind his dark helmet. “Death Dealer here. They’re in my sights. Get ready for another confirmed kill.”

To be continued.

Part Six

“Wait, Doug!” yelled Tom from the back of the plane. “Before we do anything crazy, let’s try come deception. Let’s head for Cleveland.”

Doug was slightly puzzled by this, as was Lil, but Doug banked the plane and cut west, full throttle.

“We’re doing this why?” yelled Lil. “We need to get to DC, and fast. Why the hell are we going to Ohio?”

“We’re not. We just want that other pilot to think we are. Why try out flying him first when we can possibly outsmart him?”

“You are such a geek.” Oddly, Lil was smiling when she said this, giving her a rare moment of self-surprise.

Once the heading of their small passenger plane shifted, the Air Force pilot was a bit confused. “Base, this is Death Dealer. Quarry has shifted west. Instruments put them as traveling toward Cleveland, Ohio. Can no longer confirm target. Repeat: can no longer confirm target.” “Death Dealer” wisely decided to tail them, but he knew that engaging at this point could be a huge mistake.

Not having had to deal with a bogey since Vietnam, Doug tensed slightly. “He’s still following, but he’s backed off. Any other ideas?” Sweat was running down his brow like an ugly corporate fountain. He hadn’t been nervous flying in over thirty years, and he was worried that a flashback would overtake his focus at any moment. That would be quite bad.

Lil was exceptionally nervous in her seat.

Tom looked a lot calmer, but he was mostly masking his fear.

Lil thought about death, and why she agreed to save the world.

Tom thought about Bill, and what he would have done in this situation.

Lil started to regret all the awful things she’d done in life, especially to Tom.

Tom thought about a conference he went to while in college.

Lil thought about her computer and the numerous times Tom fixed it.

Tom thought about App State University – “Doug, head for the mountains!”

Even Doug turned his head to look at him, joining Lil? “Why?” he asked, through a face full of sweat.

“We’re going to outmaneuver him. I know you’ve got better skills than any current Air Force pilot, Doug. You flew in two wars. Two. You can easily drag him around the mountains.” Tom looked feverish as he said this. Lil slid back and hoped that the men knew what they were doing. She hated feeling powerless, but was slightly pleased that their survival wasn’t on her. “What would Gloria Steinem do in this situation?” crossed her mind briefly before snapping back to the situation at hand.

“Okay,” answered Doug, after a pregnant pause. “I’ll take him down.” He accelerated and headed for the Appalachian mountain range. Death Dealer followed and sped up. The passenger plane suddenly dropped altitude and banked again. “This is not the kind of plane I flew in the jungles. Get ready for a lot of pressure, kids!”

He then started to twist and turn the plane in ways it was never built for. Lil became nauseated almost instantly. She’d forgotten that she hated flying right up until that moment. Tom just grinned like a foolish idiot on his way to death.

They slid into a groove between a few peaks. Her stomach having recovered, Lil turned to Tom and spoke up, breaking the longest silence she’d created in their time together. “We might die here. I understood this risk before we left Wappingers Falls. I don’t blame you for this, not in the slightest. But, if we’re going to die here, I have a lot say to you. I don’t know how you do it, but you never cease to amaze me. You’re a terrific person, and I treat you like shit. I want to say I’m sorry.”

“Lil, don’t-” Despite Tom’s look of dread, she cut him off.

“Shut up! You have to hear all this. I’m sorry for using you for easy sex and free tech support. I’m sorry I mocked you at every turn. I’m sorry I slapped you before. I’m sorry I question you so much, because you’re so damn smart and I know that and I’m just total bitch about everything. What I really want to tell you is that I think I love you.”

Just as the “you” left her lips, they heard a massive explosion. While Lil was pouring her heart out, Doug was flying like a stunt pilot in a Jerry Bruckheimer film, darting in and out of rock formations. He banked tightly and Death Dealer couldn’t follow. He ended up wiping on the side of a mountain. Our band of heroes was safe, at least for the moment.

The silence was broken by poor singing. “I think I love you, so what am I so afraid of?” Tom was excited to be alive, and sitting next to a beautiful woman that cared about him. “Doug, you are the best pilot in the world, sir, that was some excellent-” He was cut off again as Lil hopped in his lap and gave him a huge kiss.

Two hours later, Secret Service agents rushed out to accost a parachuter on the front lawn of the White House. Three minutes after that, the remaining agents guarding the exterior of the property assailed another on the rear lawn. Two minutes from that, Lil hopped the rear fence, followed by Tom. Their entry to the building was cleaner than a hot knife through ice cream cake.

After their detour into the mountains, Tom decided on a new plan for the White House assault. Doug would fly over the White House at high speed. Tom cobbled together a slingshot from seat belts and breathing masks that would push two dummies with ‘chutes already deployed at just the right moments. Tom and Lil got a ride into DC from some friends in Newark, DE. That part of the plan was going off without a hitch.

Strangely, their access was also unfettered inside the building. “The agents should have realized that the parachuters were fake by now. Why haven’t they alerted the inside agents? And where they hell are the inside agents?” Lil was growing increasingly more scared with each step, but she was trying to channel that fear into adrenaline.

Tom was much more collected. “They were likely called off. We are walking into an obvious trap, you know.”

Lil refrained from yelling “It’s a trap!” as that would be too obvious. She secretly loved Star Wars.

“So we’re just going to walk into it?”

“Yeah. Just follow my lead. We’re not leaving the Oval Office without the Sphere.”

He threw open the door to find a lone shadowy figure sitting at Kennedy’s desk.

“I still can’t figure out how you two made it here. You should both be pushing up the little daisies by now. But you’re not, and I commend you for that. However, you’re not walking out of this room alive.” The figure rose and stepped into the light. He was older, possibly a former general. He had a look of evil, like a cliche movie villain.

“Neither are you, sir.” Tom pulled a pistol from his belt. It was the same one he’d used to subdue Lil earlier.

Lil hadn’t noticed it the entire time and was slightly relieved that they were armed.

Only laugher came in response. “I’m a federal agent, kid. You expect a gun to scare me?”

Tom lowered the clip and removed a bullet. “No, I want you to be scared of these.” He flipped the bullet to the older man. “Specially made in Vancouver. Those can pierce just about anything. Kevlar, flak protection, wood, lead . . .”

The smirk left their adversary’s face. He silently watched Tom train the gun on Kennedy’s desk. “You do realize that you’ll wipe out the entire east coast if you do that?” Sweat was starting to bead on his head.

Lil shot a terrible look at Tom. They were supposed to be saving the world, not destroying it. She had no idea as to what he was attempting to do, and following his lead was getting harder by the second.

Throwing all caution to the wind, she finally spoke. “He’ll do it. He and I are immune to it’s effects. Hell, once you’re gone, we’ll move into your house. And have freaky sex on your bed.”

Tom glanced sideways at her, one of those “That wasn’t needed” kind of looks. “Listen: You let us walk out of here with the sphere, and I won’t kill millions of Americans. If you’re really lucky, I won’t shoot you in the face. ”

He waved Lil towards the desk. “Now, you keep your damn hands off of her, otherwise, I’ll shoot you in the face. You getting the picture, sir? I don’t like your face very much, and I really feel like putting one of these fine Canadian bullets right through your skull.” Lil slid open the secret compartment, hoisted the heavy lead box hidden behind it, and walked carefully back towards Tom.

“See, that wasn’t so hard,” chimed Lil. “You were a good boy over there.”

“Oh, and one more thing,” Tom was about to shine. “We were totally bluffing. This are just regular hollow points. They can’t pierce lead.”

“WHAT!!!” A great look of anger and a mighty roar from the old man across the room. He started to advance on them.

Tom brandished the gun again. “But it can bust through those ancient kneecaps.”

Blat! Blat! Two shots, each one taking out the agent’s knees. Tom ran over, pistol whipped his ear to disable his cochlear communicator, and then he ushered Lil out of the White House.

Running at breakneck speed, they darted through DC, looking for an available cab. Lil was finding all those days running track and kissing up to her coach were paying off. There she was, darting through tourists, carrying a heavy lead box holding a deadly bomb.

They finally were able to get a cab. Tom quickly called Doug, to make sure he was okay and to see if he could give them a lift to Ottowa. “That’s the fallback point. Bill said no matter what, make sure we get back to Ottowa.”

Lil smiled. She’d just participated in saving the world she used to crap all over. There was this warm fuzzy feeling inside her that was only amplified by the fact that she was sitting next to Tom. “That was a hell of a job you did in there. It all seemed vaguely familiar though.”

“It was almost one hundred percent plagiarized from The Princess Bride, though taking out his kneecaps replaced tying him up. Before I start calling you Buttercup, I have some things to say to you, miss.” Lil returned to her puzzled look.

“You really surprised me today. When Bill told me that you would be on this little adventure with me, I was surprised. When he told me that you would be the anchor, I laughed my ass off. But you came through, and I don’t think I could have done this without you.”

“Speak for yourself, you dork,” responded Lil with a wink. “You did all the work. I was just baggage. Well, save for the sailing, and the research. But I was mostly useless.”

Tom shook his head. “You were MY anchor, miss. As we sailed down the Hudson, I realized that I cared for you, as much as I thought I hated you. And that I had to save the world for you.”

For the first time in her life, Lil blushed. Never before had anyone said something that nice to her, and it really took her by surprise.

“Now,” said Tom, throwing his arm around her in the back of the cab, the Victoria Sphere between them, “what was that about your thinking you loved me?”

The taxi sped off towards BWI Airport. It was the last day that Lil and Tom would be seen in the United States of America.

 

Epilogue

The windy road led up a hill. Val didn’t see much beyond some trees and some abandoned farmland. This was her first time in Toronto, and she didn’t expect to be driving through the boonies.

She was going to visit her friend Lil at her estate. She had been living with Tom since they became Canadian citizens and enemies of the United States. They had a great house on a lake, and some old dude was taking care of it for them while they got to live idly. Lil wasn’t allowed to tell her how they had earned this, but she was certain that it has something to do with the men in black suits that bothered her a year ago.

The old Volkswagon she was driving took the turn into their driveway with a little trepidation. She’d been driving for hours, but she was glad to be out of the city and seeing her old friend. Lil wasn’t the nicest person around, but Val was able to put up with her.

The last year, however, was fantastic. Lil would call all the time to see how she was doing, what was going on in NYC, etc. Val even recalled Lil saying something about her phone call saving their lives, but she just expected that Lil was drunk.

Lil and Tom had a long driveway. At the end of it stood a massive home, likely a former farmhouse. She parked the car and strode up to the door. And older gentlemen answered it.

“You must be Val! Come on in, miss. Make yourself at home. Lil and her gentleman Tom will be down in a bit.”

He led her to a sitting room. “By the way, my name is Bill. If you need anything let me know.”

He smiled at her, and she sat on the couch, awaiting her old friend’s arrival.

The End.